English in Use/Present Simple Tense

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The present simple (also simple present) is the grammatical tense expressing actions which took place in the present or future. It is used similar to presente simples do indicativo, presente do subjuntivo and futuro simples do subjuntivo in Portuguese.

Uses of Present Simple[edit | edit source]

  • We use the present simple for describes general truths, facts and scientific laws.
The earth moves round the sun.   

  • We use the present simple for directions.
You come out of the station. Then you turn right.    
  • We use the present simple for habits and routines.
I watch TV every day.   
  • We use the present simple for things that are true and that normally happen.
Children like playing.    
  • We use the present simple for things which you like or dislike.
He likes short stories.   
  • We use the present simple for permanent situations.
He lives in London.   

  • We use the present simple for procedures.
He interviews boys.  
  • We use the present simple for perceptions.
The food smells good.   
  • We use the present simple for conditions.
If you leave your mobile phone there, someone will steal it.   

  • We use the present simple for future plans and schedules. (though much less commonly than in many other languages):
The airplane leaves at 6:00 am tomorrow.   


She goes to Milwaukee on Tuesday.   

She goes to Milwaukee on Tuesdays, means that she goes to Milwaukee every Tuesday.    

Note from: Present simple by Wikipedia on 19 January 2006.

  • When using some verbs, we are committing ourselves to action. In this case, you must use present simple.
I promise that I won't be late.  
I suggest you go and see a doctor.   
I insist that we pay the bill.   
I won't tell anybody what you said. I promise.
  • We use the present simple for many verbs of thinking, feeling and sensing. This verbs are called stative verbs or 'state' verbs.
emotion: like love want wish
mind: agree believe mean know
appearance: look like resemble seem
possession: belong consist contain have need own
perception: see hear taste
I love you.

See also: Stative verb by Wikipedia

  • We usually use the present simple in jokes, anecdotes and film or book summaries.

The present simple is also very often used in jokes and when telling a story to make the joke or story seem more immediate. This use of the present simple is sometimes called the graphic present. It is also used to retell what happens in a book or film. +

Q: A child, an honest politician, and Santa Claus all spot a $20 bill on the ground. Who picks it up?

A: The child. The other two don't exist.

A couple is touring a graveyard when they spot a tombstone that reads:

"Here lies an honest man and a politician."

The man says to the woman:

- "Look honey, there are two people in that grave."

Q: What do you call a thousand lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?

A: A good start.

Examples of jokes from: Joke by Wikipedia on 11 January 2006.

References[edit | edit source]

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "English grammar".

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